Tag Archives: commandments

Peninsula Community Church 

The Power of God’s Word

June 24, 2018 

Psalm 19:7-10 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.

Let me begin with a question this morning. What would you pay for a document or a tool that would give you solutions to life’s problems and would bring you great joy and wisdom? The fact is, we already have such a tool and such a document. It is called the Word of God. The problem, however, is that somewhere along the line, we have replaced the Word of God with psychology, secular counseling, new age philosophies, and secular mindsets. So many today do not believe they need God, therefore they believe they do not need His word! How sad and misplaced that is. It is sad because we have turned to those things that fail to embrace the power of God’s word as the source for help and assistance the with issues we face. Please note, that I am not opposed to counseling, but counseling apart from God’s word is not a healthy pursuit. 

In complete disclosure the outline of this message is one that I heard given by John MacArthur at Jack Hayford’s pastor’s conference a number of years ago. It is his outline but I have added my ideas and thoughts to the message. As we look at this passage, we find that Psalm 19 allows us to look into David’s heart and gain a greater understanding of the power of God’s word to bring change. Here we find that David lists six attributes of God’s word and what those attributes, when properly applied, can accomplish in the life of the believer. As we look at this passage, we must not miss the reality that all six of these attributes have one thing in common. All six attributes contain the phrase “of the Lord.” This settles the issue of authority and it confirms the source of the Word of God. The Word is powerful and sufficient because it has divine origins. This is the law of the Lord and not of man. Let us look at these six attributes this morning.

In verse 7, we find that the law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. In essence, the law of God is the source and guide for all of man’s conduct. Today, man’s moral compass is off kilter. The result is that we seem to be flying upside down. The problem is that when Scripture is rejected as the sole moral compass of our life, we are left to our own devices to make sense of life. When that is our focus it does not always end well. I am thankful, however, that we have been given a fixed point of reference, and that fixed point of reference is the Word of God. Once we lose that, we are indeed lost. 

David says the law is perfect which carries the idea, not so much of being flawless, but that the Word of God is complete in every way. God’s law covers every aspect of life. It leaves nothing out. It is sweeping and complete in its effect. It is the completeness of the Word that gives it the power to restore the soul. Because it restores the soul, it can transform everyone who applies the Word to their heart and their way of life. Through God’s Word, that which was broken is made whole. That which was dead is now alive. That which was lost has been found.

Secondly, David proclaims that the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The essence of this passage is that God’s Word is the testimony of the Lord. It is God’s self-revelation. To know God, read the Scripture and through it’s pages we see Him revealed. That is because the Bible is God’s personal testimony. It is the revelation of who He is.

David states that the testimony of the Lord is sure which means that it is absolutely reliable and trustworthy. The result of its reliability is that it gives the simple wisdom. The word simple, as used here, means to be ignorant and without understanding. In the Hebrew language, the root of the word means “an open door.” To have an open door means that we let everything in but we also let everything out. Scripture says that even a fool is thought to be wise until he opens his mouth. From a mental standpoint this term relates to the inability to discern and distinguish truth from fact.

Today, we are encouraged by many to be open minded, but in those days, if you were to say you had an open mind, people would say, “Well close the door.” The point is, you need to know what to keep in and what to keep out. A door is a point of discretion. When it comes to the mind, you should not be proud that you let everything in and for that matter everything out. We must close the door and be aware of what goes in and comes out of our mind. The word of God does that for us. It teaches us discernment. It teaches us to have good judgement and higher standards. It teaches us to distinguish between truth and lies. It takes the simple and makes them wise.

Third, the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart. Through Scripture comes doctrine, dogma, and propositional truth. As the Word of God, it sets down truths to be believed and these truths are right. This is not so much right as opposed to wrong, but it is a matter of heading in the right direction. Therefore, it is the Word that sets us on the right path. 

In Psalm 119:105 David proclaimed, Your word is a lamp unto my feet and light to my path.” The Word is not just a lamp and a light, it is the path. In life, there is a way which seems right unto a man, but that way ends in death (Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:25). Scripture’s testimony is that we are to walk in the precepts of God. It is all about the path we are taking. Thus, when you walk in His way, the result is rejoicing in the heart. His way is the path of joy. It is through God’s Word that we receive exuberant joy that overflows into celebration. It is the right path.

Fourth, in verse 8, David proclaims, the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. This is not a book of suggestions. This is not a book of good thoughts and nice ideas. These are commandments from the sovereign king of the universe who has total authority over every aspect of life. Notice here that the commandments of the Lord are pure. The idea presented in the Hebrew language is that the commandments are clear. They are transparent and translucent, and not opaque. They are not hard. The commandments are not pointless because God made them clear and understandable. To say the Bible is not clear is an indictment of God as that would put us in an impossible situation. This is the problem that arises if we do not believe that the Word is clear. God does not ask us to do anything that He does not make clear through His Word. By following the commandments of the Lord, we can see clearly what He has intended for us, and it becomes easy to obey His commands. 

Fifth, in verse 9, we find that “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.” The way fear is used here is a reference to reverence, awe, and worship. The fact is, the Bible is a manual on worship. It tells us how we should worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Scripture defines the One to be worshiped and how He is to be worshiped. This is a testimony to Scripture’s inerrancy, it is clean and it is pure. How do we know? We know this because Scripture never changes and it lasts forever.

Finally, the judgments of the Lord are true, they are righteous altogether. In society today, we do not like the term judgement, but the reality is judgement is a necessary part of what God does. Judgment is the act that makes grace what it is. Without judgment, grace would not be such a beautiful gift. The difference between our judgments and His judgments is that His judgments are absolutely true and accurate.

The truth is, Scripture gives us God’s verdict on everything. It is decisive and true. In a world of lies and in a world of deception, Scripture is absolutely true and reliable. As a result, the phrase, “they are righteous altogether,” can be translated as producing comprehensive righteousness. In John 17:17 Christ proclaimed, Sanctify them by thy truth, thy word is truth.” His Word is that which sanctifies and brings glory to His name because it is true and it is reliable. 

When all is said and done we know this, Scripture is God’s law, God’s testimony, God’s precepts, God’s commands, God’s manual on worship, and it is His judgments. It is comprehensive, perfect, sure, right, clear, clean, and true. It totally transforms the whole person. It makes the undiscerning skilled in all aspects of living. It produces an unassailable joy. It makes the dark things light, and it endures forever. Every culture, every place, every age, and every person finds it relevant and that it restores life.

As a result, when we look at verse 10, we understand the value of God’s Word in our life. Listen to David’s words. The Words of God “are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.” The Word of God is more precious than anything. It is to be desired more than the best gold. It better than anything the world has to offer as it is eternal, powerful, and all sufficient. It is more precious than the best commodity the world has to offer. It is sweeter than anything life can bring.

I love John MacArthur’s comment in this regard. If you have a choice between the Word of God and GOLD, choose the Word of God. If you have a choice between the Word of God and MUCH gold, choose the Word of God. If you have a choice between the Word of God and much FINE gold, choose the Word of God. The point is plain. The benefits of knowing and doing the Word of God are greater than all that money can buy.

For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14

Copyright © 2018 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom

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Ephesians – Upside Down Authority Turned Right Side Up

Peninsula Community Church

Ephesians – Upside Down Authority Turned Right Side Up

April 26, 2015

Ephesians 6:1-9 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.

As we look at this passage, we see that Paul echoes several truths. First, children are to obey and honor their parents. This is a direct reference to the fifth commandment in the Old Testament. In this command God instructed children to honor their parents. It is also noteworthy that obedience to this command brings with it a blessing. The reward of obedience is that it will go well with them and they will live long in the land. In other words, they will have a good life. Paul on the other hand commands fathers not to exasperate their children but to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. In other words, parents are to disciple their children and not just punish them.

Paul also refers to the slave and master relationship. In our modern culture, this can easily be used of the employee and employer relationship. Paul begins this portion of scripture with a challenge that employees are to obey those over them with reverence for their position and with a sincere heart. These actions were to be carried out as if they were serving Christ directly and was motivated by the desire to please Christ. Just as the command for children to obey their parents came with a reward, so does serving those over you willfully and sincerely. What is the reward? They were to receive back from the Lord what they had given to others. In essence, they were to reap what they had sown. Paul then commands the masters, or in our case employers, to do the same to their employees. They were to stop using threats as a means to motivate those working for them because the reality is that they serve and must answer to the same God.

We see Paul’s heart here, but as we look over the landscape of our current culture, we find that the concept of respect and submission to authority has deteriorated, drastically. This is in part because we are living in an independent, self-focused society where everyone believes they have a right to lead and govern themselves. The result of such a lifestyle is that submission has been exchanged for selfishness, false pride, and arrogance. Submission to authority has been exchanged for personal autonomy which leads a person to believe they are morally independent and self-directing. The work ethic of our forefathers has been traded for entitlements and give always. The result is that people now feel they can do anything they want to, they do not have to answer to anyone including God, and they are entitled to what others have without working for it in the same way.

This is not a new issue as we find that the nation of Israel had also rejected the idea of respecting the authority that had been placed over them. In this case, it was God Himself. On two occasions we find the saddest of all commentaries in the Old Testament. Listen to these words. In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes, (Judges 17:6). This phrase is repeated at the end of the book as well. (Judges 21:25). Rather than submit to God, they chose to follow their own desires, plans, and opinions. Sadly, this same storyline could be written of this generation. Not only do we have a nation where disrespect and a rejection of authority is the norm, we have also rejected God.

To make matters worse, in the world of psychology, we have been taught that to discipline our children may result in wounding their fragile psyche and may do unrepairable damage to their little spirits. Dr. Spock who wrote the book “Common sense: Book of Baby and Child Care” changed the face of parenting forever. What he set in motion diminished the ability of modern parents to properly discipline their children. The following quote referenced Dr. Spock’s work. Parents began to feed self-indulgence instead of instilling self-control – homes were becoming child-centered. As parents elevated children’s “freedom of expression” and natural cravings, children became more outspoken, defiant and demanding of gratification. In fact, they came to view gratification as a right. Authority and respect in the home was diminished. For this reason, it is no longer culturally accepted to discipline or spank our children. How sad that is.

This environment of diminished respect and submission has been carried over into the workplace and for that matter into every part of life. Because self-gratification has become a right, those who have been brought up in this environment are now going to work and are struggling to hold down jobs because they have issues in taking orders and submitting to those leading them. Their feelings are hurt when they don’t get the promotion they want or they have to do things on the job they don’t like or enjoy. Their self-esteem is stunted when they are disciplined or required to work a certain number of days or keep certain hours in a day.

But God’s intent has been and still is vastly different from the world’s view on this matter. The passionate follower of Christ has been called to a higher walk. As I have noted before, I do not believe it is accidental that Paul began the discussion of submission in Ephesians 5:21 with the phrase that we should “submit to one another out of reverence to the Lord.” It is not a coincidence that Paul then moves to the husband and wife relationship which is followed by the relationship of children to parents and parents to children. And he closes with the idea of the employer/employee relationship. Though it is not expressly noted, the idea presented is that when parents are in right relationship to one another and to the Lord, they will more likely have children who are in right relationship with the parents and with God. A child who witnesses a stable environment of love, respect, and discipleship is more likely to be engaged on the job and will learn respect for those who they work for and work with. God’s ultimate desire is to see His followers respecting and honoring one another.

So what are the lessons we learn here? First, we learn that submission and giving honor is a choice. Paul says it is the right thing to do. In the story of Adam and Eve, we find they chose to reject the authority of God who created them. They chose instead to submit to the serpent’s authority which was based in false hope, lies, and a counterfeit vision of the future. Paul calls children to obey and to submit to their parents. Paul calls servants and employees to submit to their bosses. The fact is, we must choose to honor and to obey our parents. We must choose to submit to the leadership that is over us in Christ, because we are called to do so and there is a spiritual blessing and a reward in doing so.

As is the pattern of Paul, he gives us both sides of the equation so that a full understanding  might come to the passionate follower of Christ. He addresses the antithesis or the flip side of the coin by noting that parents, namely the father, must not provoke their children to anger. Too often parents are more concerned about punishing the child rather than growing them in Christ. When the child is punished, too often it is because we are angry, perturbed, or our selfish expectations have not been met. Instead of correcting a problem, we are simply exasperating our children. We also exasperate our children by living a duplicitous life. As passionate followers of Christ, may we choose to submit and honor those with whom we are connected.

The second lesson is that as parents and leaders, we must understand that to get respect we must give respect and live in submission to others. In other words, we must model these principles. As moms and dads, do our children see us honoring our spouses? Do they see us honor our parents? Do we honor God in the way we live? Do we honor others or do we take them for granted. As employers, do we honor God with our business? Do we treat our employees with grace or are we demeaning and demanding on the job. As employees, do we take advantage of our bosses? Do we gossip behind their backs and belittle them? How we treat them is our choice. What we model though is what we will get in return.

The third lesson is that all of us submit to someone’s authority. Notice the words of Paul. The same God served by the employer is the same God who the employee serves. This brings me to the point that I made earlier. Too often, we want people to honor us and respect us when we ourselves are not respecting God’s word or submitting to God our Father. We want others to respect us and submit to our leadership but we ourselves are not willing to submit to others. We are all under someone’s authority whether we like it or not. The person you are called to submit to may be flawed but we are still called to submit and honor the position. The fact is, we are all flawed. We all make mistakes but that does not negate the call to respect and submit to those over us and to respect and honor those we work with. That is God’s calling to us.

As we close, is there an area of your life where you are struggling with submission and respect? Do you honor and submit to one another? Do you respect your spouse? What about your parents? What about your children? Do you respect your boss? Do you respect your employees? God’s will in all of this is that we would honor God by honoring others. So be it! To God be the glory!

For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14

Copyright © 2015 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom

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